Archive for drawing

Creating work that has a sense of timelessness

"Evening Out" by John Andro AvendañoTo keep myself engaged in the process every day – I switch mediums – from painting to drawing, to sculpting in wood or metal, to woodcuts – using anything I can to make something that I like. The whole idea of creating is to make something I like to look at. And I feel that once someone buys a piece, it keeps giving back. Every time you look at it, it gives the viewer something different, something new It’s like rereading a great book you fell in love with. Once you get past the first read, you can unpeel layers and layers. Every time you read it again, see it again, you discover new pieces in a novel or a painting. That what artists and writers are doing – creating works that are timeless. I’m not interested in creating a shocking piece of art, you know, a tinfoil formaldehyde shark, or large duplicates of medical pills, or images of dead heads wrapped in plastic with eyes bugging out. That’s not for me, not what I’m after. There may be a market for that, but I leave that for other artists to do. Through my searches – I’m striving to create beauty, and make something that’s everlasting, I want to create something you’d put up in your house, and every time you look at it you discover something new. That’s what I like to think about, like to do, like to share. Living in the world now, people don’t want to look at art that feels like it’s stuck in the 1970s. They want a feeling of timelessness and expansiveness. People want a piece that remains fresh – time after time.

Finding Titles for Artwork

"The Brothel" by John Andro AvendañoI used to name my paintings if I had an emotional connection to them. While making a painting or drawing, the name would just come to me. Those are the best types of titles – when they just come out of the air. Now I call a piece ‘Untitled’ until I find a name, or it becomes an untitled series. For me, it’s much more about the process and doing the work than trying to figure out titles. I’d rather move on to the next creation. There are certain types of collectors who want to know titles of pieces. It helps to draw them into a painting, or helps them relate to it more. It may also help people investigate a painting on a deeper level. A name says something about a piece to the viewer, and they get specific ideas about the work.

Get into the habit of making art

"Mont Saite-Victoire" by John Andro AvendanoCreating art has to become a habit. I’m not a political artist, and I not an activist artist. I’m really dealing with my own sensibilities. My life doesn’t have a lot of grief. I’m not very susceptible to outside drama. Which is good. You have to stay steady and true to yourself to stay on track creatively. When I can help people, I’m there. But people have to take responsibility for their own choices and their own unique direction. Ultimately, each person has to do it for themselves. Figure out what you want to create, and start creating it. At this point in time, making art is about habits, and creating positive habits and sticking to them. It’s something I work on every day. For me there are only two real emotions. You’re either happy or you’re sad. If you’re sad, figure out what’s causing it, and start changing your situation. If you’re happy, keep on doing what you’re doing. Do even more of it. It’s easier to focus and do good work when you’re energized. Stay focused and develop the working habits that allow you to create new art, or finish artwork you’ve started. People get distracted by negative emotions. They get stuck in being angry or jealous, or something. The main thing is to stay with the basics. Figure out if you’re feeling happy or sad, and use those emotions to get into your work.

Don’t make excuses. Make art. Every day.

a-work-in-progressMaking art comes down to routine and habit. And that gets formed over many years. You have to get in the habit of getting up in the morning and starting. After you take care of  your emails or phone calls that you have to do, you have a cup of coffee, and then stand in front of your easel or sit at your table and start creating something. It doesn’t really matter what. Once you begin the process it takes off on its own. I get up around 7:00 a.m., have coffee, respond to emails, and start work about 9:00 a.m. I’ll stop at 1:00 p.m. and have lunch, then take care of more business. I’m back working in my studio by 4:00 p.m. And I’ll work until 3:00 a.m. There’s a dinner in there somewhere, but it’s not necessarily at the same time. There’s no mystery to it. If you want to create art, you have to work; you develop the habit. It’s about creating every day. Persistence matters. Not giving up matters. If you’re sick, you grab a piece of paper and do some drawing in bed. If you’re sick and throwing up, you grab some paper and draw in between times of being sick. If your leg is going to be amputated, get it amputated and then go back and make good art. There is no excuse, if you’re healthy and want to make art. There have been artists who were going blind and kept making art. Artists with no hands who painted with their feet. If they could do it, you can do it. Stop making excuses and make art.